Effortless smartphone tips for bloggers on the move
From the day I started blogging in 2007 I wanted to find ways to make my blog tasks easier. Often I had interesting ideas whilst out and about but struggled to turn these into great posts. My scribbled notes didn’t always make sense — but I wouldn’t have dreamt of using my smartphone as a memory aide!
Nine years on, more people are using a smartphone rather than a computer for all their digital communication. Many older bloggers are starting to get used to this change too — although for some blogging on a phone seems a step too far.
What a shame.
Using your smartphone can help you tick off quite a few blog tasks, especially when you have some unexpected free time on your hands. Let me show you a few of my smartphone tips for bloggers on the move.
How to manage to manage your blog from your smartphone
- Reading your recently published post on your smartphone will help you see it with fresh eyes. It's great to be able to log straight in to your blog app when spotting something you’d like to change.
- When you’ve scheduled posts to go live whilst away on holiday or business you can check that everything is OK.
- You can keep an eye on any guest blogs you’ve written or check the stats for recent posts. And it's easy to reply to new comments too.
- Reading blogs from other writers in your niche helps you stay in touch with industry news and other bloggers. Commenting on someone else’s blog post is so easy from your phone!
- You can promote new and old posts via social media whilst on the move. (I now only do that from my smartphone.)
- You can gather new blog post ideas in a 'Notes' or writing app (I get my best ideas whilst out and about). Or you can organise all your blogging tasks in a dedicated to-do list app.
- Plus… you can write whole posts if you wish!The simplest way to write and capture new ideas
Smartphone tips for bloggers who want to write and capture new ideas
I got into mobile blog writing quite accidentally a few years ago. I was at Heathrow airport collecting my husband whose flight was delayed. As I wondered how to kill time, two smartly dressed businesswomen sat next to me.
My ears pricked up when I heard them mention networking. (At the time I still ran networking meetings and was co-writing an ebook about networking.) But it was shocking to hear their negative experiences and misguided assumptions.
Still, they did give me a great idea for a new post! Knowing that I might forget some of the points I wanted to put across, I reached for my phone (an old now outdated iPhone 3) and opened the 'Notes' app.
Back then we had fewer public wifi areas, smaller monthly data plans and far fewer apps. But that was probably just as well. I wouldn’t have liked to write my post directly into the WordPress app.
Do you feel a little nervous about using your blogging app via a tiny screen?
Then 'Notes' or a similar writing app may be an easy alternative! (I expect Android phones will have a similar basic writing or Word app.) Although I have a much more up-to-date iPhone now, I still use the 'Notes' app, which is where I started this post.
‘Notes’ looks like a simple paper pad. It is a completely distraction-free space with only basic editing tools. Just enough: select (cut and paste), bold, italic, define (a dictionary) and an ‘add photo’ option.
It could do with an ‘undo’ option but is otherwise adequate for sketching out ideas in list format. Or for writing down whatever comes into your head ... even the whole post!
And it saves it too when you press 'done'.
For me the beauty of using such an app is that it synchronises with my iPad and MacBook when I’m online – magic! (Blogging friends tell me that their Android phones can also sync with their other appliances.)
But back then I neither had an iPad nor a Mac, only an ordinary PC and a Windows laptop. So I would either email the draft 'Note' to myself, or save it in Dropbox (any cloud-based document storage service will help you here).
This is a great option for people who prefer to access and edit their post later using an appliance with a bigger screen and keyboard.
Using the WordPress app from your smartphone
An experienced writer will edit a lot less than I do (I'm a non-native English speaker.)
So if your posts don't need much tweaking why not try to use your phone for a change? Simply download the app to your phone that goes with the platform you use for your blog.
The app will give you access to the back end of your site, in this case WordPress. All you do is log in to the WordPress app, click on ‘New Post’ (or the image with the pen symbol) and start writing! Or if you've used 'Notes', you could copy and paste directly into 'New Post'.
Rather amazingly, the WordPress smartphone app helps you carry out any task that a laptop or desktop user can do. Here you have all the editing tools you need to beautify your post. And if you have photos ready and waiting on your smartphone, they are easy to drop in too.
A few practical tips:
- Most 'keyboards' are tiny and may only leave you with a restricted view of your text and the editing tools.
So even when you have a larger phone, writing via your blogging app may be best for shorter posts only.
- Writing can also be a little tricky for people who don't have small fingers. Perhaps using a stylus might help here?
- You want to save your post often and watch that you don't accidentally publish before you're ready. To save, click on ACTIONS followed by SAVE which is immediately above the Publish button.
- Whilst there, you can also see the other features that prepare your post for publishing. (E.g categories, tags, featured image etc...)
- It helps to have your chosen photo ready on your smartphone. But if it's saved elsewhere or you prefer to edit it on your laptop or PC then it's best to save your draft for now. You can always revisit it later from your regular appliance and get the photo ready too.
- Before sending your post into the big wide world, it is always a good idea to check layout and formatting in preview mode. (Click 'Preview' or the little eye symbol). And you may want to double-check the spelling too at this point.
Blogging on the move - more benefits
So on the whole, publishing on a smartphone is not much different to publishing from a laptop or PC.
Everything is just smaller. If your smartphone’s small screen size worries you, you may find a tablet more practical. I use both and love the fact that I can choose between phone, tablet or computer depending on where I am or what I'm working on.
Mobile blogging can save you lots of time and hassle - it really can make your life easier! And knowing that you will never forget an idea or don’t have to wait until you’re back at your desk feels quite satisfying. Plus when you do get back to your desk you'll be able to focus on other tasks.
Mobile blogging can make you feel more creative and productive — this could be an attractive benefit for busy businesswomen!
This way you may never get to feel that your blog dominates your life. (Especially if you also remember from time to time that smartphones or tablets also have an off-switch! Then you can’t really go wrong, can you?!)
Do you use your smartphone to write or help you manage your blogging tasks?